If you're making a list, check it twice.

I’m 68 years old. And I’m pregnant.

Although my mother swears it was 1968, and I have a birth certificate to prove it, a few bits in some database out there stubbornly insist that I’m 68 years old. So nearly every day, I get pitches for hearing aids, almost-unnoticeable incontinence garments, padded bath tubs, sure-fire investment schemes, cemetery plots, discount cremation, great rates on retirement villages, and kooky political mailings.

This has gone on for years. After several unsuccessful attempts to correct the information, I gave up.

I do get some satisfaction thinking about the vast amount of money database marketers have wasted sending me things I couldn’t possibly care about (yet).

But what really worries me is that a database somewhere thinks I’m pregnant. Over the last few weeks, I’ve started receiving offers for cord blood storage, various baby supply stores, and offers to stock up on bibs and diapers. Most disturbing of all, a free magazine called “Baby Talk” landed in my mailbox last Saturday, with plenty of tips for expecting mothers.

Maybe these databases will merge someday, and I’ll start getting a magazine called “Grandpa Mom”.

Target marketing with direct mail is great, and database mining can lead to incredible insights. But it’s far too easy to assume too much based on a few scraps of misinformation. If you’re making a list, check it twice.

Brian Wringer

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